Tuesday 2 June 2020

Starting Anew Before My Course Was Altered by Coronavirus

Mary details her experiences as she has to give up her life abroad and go home during the pandemic. 

- Mary Flannigan

I faced a lot of hardship from being in treatment from ages 13 to 15, and walking by the hospital I had spent 5 months in at the psych ward on my way to school every day. It was hard to feel like I could thrive in the city where I grew up in, when I had constant reminders of my troubles, no solid friend group - as I had begun at the high school mid-way through year 10 and 2 days after leaving a treatment facility - and doubtful looks wherever I went. 

I set my sights on moving abroad to study, as. I'd always had a dream of blossoming in my career as an actress, which I’d been working at since aged 5, but had put on hold when I couldn’t function due to my depression and anxiety. I needed a fresh start where I could feel like I could breathe, make mistakes, and let go, and be free as an individual with a future entirely of my own making, where a past wouldn’t haunt me, and I could be beginning something new on my own accord rather than thrust into new situations I was unprepared for. I flourished abroad, having built a real community of people I felt connected to and inspired by. 

Upon recently graduating, I decided to stay abroad as I had the opportunity of work. In the next year I would build a stronger community, and meet someone I hold very dear to me. But two thirds into my visa the pandemic hit. This meant I wouldn’t have the resources to afford to remain, and would need to return to my home city. The future would drastically change for me, as it felt like all my hard work to get where I was crumbled. My depression hit me really hard, as the future, who would be in it, and where I would be living all became a giant question mark. 

As of right now, I am living in uncertainty to where I will go after this pandemic. I don’t intend to remain in my home city too long, but will have to save up to move out again. I am making moving out again a priority as I know it’s what’s best for my health - I can’t live in constant unsettlement and trauma or fear of seeing people that hurt me. My mental health is in constant fluctuation - but I am remaining focused, and use the same methods that have kept me going in hard times before. I make daily to do lists, and live by the mantra that I must ride the way of life as I have no control on said circumstances, and am not at fault for experiencing what is happening. Whatever happens, I will continue to prioritise my mental health. 

For more information Student Space is here to make it easier for you to find the support you need during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information on looking after your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic, click here. For information and support with depression, click here

Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, I always carried a passion for the arts. I've had a lifelong battle with mental health but have learned to effectively cope with hard work, DBT, and a positive outlook. Work-wise, I have held membership with an improv company, and acted in Iphigenia Among the Taurians.

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